Amputee Sea Turtle Gets Sweet Fighter Jet Wings And A New Lease On Life

05/23/2014 10:30 am ET | Updated May 23, 2014

An immobilized green sea turtle in Israel has been given the chance to glide again.

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Hofesh (which translates to "freedom" in English), as he is now called, lost his two left flippers after being entangled in a fishing net, which left him unable to lift his head to breathe.

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Thanks to the smarts of Shlomi Gez, an Israeli design student, Hofesh can now swim in deeper tanks at the Israel Turtle Rescue Center. Gez modeled the turtle's new artificial fins on the design of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet.

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An F-22 Raptor . Photo via Getty Images.

Hofesh's new digs are made out of biological material that grows. Yaniv Levy, the manager at the rescue center, says Hofesh is much calmer and less stressed when his fake limbs are secured. When they're not, the turtle struggles to lift his head to breathe and panics, but the design helps him to balance and swim at a steady pace.

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Hofesh will not be released back into the sea; if his new apparatus were to ever detach, he would be incapable of getting air above water. And the team is still working to make his artificial limbs stronger and more sustainable.

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But in happy turtle news, Hofesh will likely be able to contribute to the conservation of his own species. The green sea turtle is endangered, and Hofesh will be used for breeding at the rescue center. At 20-something, he's considered young in the turtle world: Turtles like him don't reach sexual maturity until their thirties.

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Learn more about turtles (and tortoises, too) by visiting American Tortoise Rescue and NOAA.

[H/t: Live Leak]

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